Welcome to Impressionism by John Galbo

My latest idyllic travel to 4 countries. Everything magically came together via:

9 flights,12 hotels,3 apartments, 4 rental cars,1 aunt,40 Sicilian cousin,1 French student, 1 horse, and #? bottles of wine.

First came Italy, hooking up with my 83 years young aunt. Firenze and Tuscany just after wine harvest. Vineyards were starting to blush, having been defrocked of the "fruit of the vine."

1 week in Sicily; reunion with loving 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins. Their proclivity for procreation reminds me of my great uncle Giovanni's thriving rabbit hutch! (Shhh!).

Given that only cousin Roberto, professor of Linguisitcs, spoke Enligh, made conversations entertaining. The dinner table was so long I couldn't see the opposite end. Of course a dozen bottles of Sangiovese wine didn't help. There was pasta made with ink from squid.Grilled octopus. The whole fish (Dorado) including eyes. Other courses too numerious to mention, and Lemoncello, the birthright of every Sicilian.

Then it was off to a flooded, but fun Venice. Wading boots standard fare at every hotel.

Did my best work in the dark. My Canon 5D is phenomenal in low light. My shot, Canale Grande, is in the dark form Rialto Bridge at 5am with no moving boats or people. Bridge of Tears was also done that morning. I shot both at 30 seconds to achieve that dreamy silky water look.

Kiss my aunt goodbye and flew to Munchen Germany. When I use local maps, sometimes it's difficult to know English translation. Munchen being Munich, Koln=Cologne. Spent 2 days shooting exquisite Baroque churches in Bavaria.

My crazy moment came next. Most people who have known me "long" will attest that "crazy" is not limited to 1 moment. Left suitcase and camera equipment (risky!) in Paris. Flew to Orlando Friday and back on plane Sunday night to Paris.

In between did superb Winter Park Art Fair with my indispensible studio manager and trusted confidant, Lindsay. She knows more about me than my "shrink" Congratulations Lindsay and husband Rob. Life changing date June 21st!

Rented car and toured Bretagne (3rd visit). Highlight was idyllic seaside town of Dournanez, which I discovered during library research at Barnes and Noble. I am a loyal customer. We need to keep bookstores afloat.

Spent good part of 1 day with French student Lara as my guide, who I had met last sumer at Lake Michigan art show. Luckily her mare (mother, not female horse!) had an extra bed as it was midnight before we returned.

I do speak a modicum of French, compliments of a former "petite amie." Enough said :)

Next was Bordeaux and the prestigious Cathea Latour vineyard. The growing season is later here than Italy. Access to the cellars is not possible during harvest but the periphery of grounds were open.

It was here that I came across 4 field hands who were plowing the rows between the vines, each with a single horse. My first reaction was "how primitive." Ramon, the leader,set me straight saying the weight of the horse on the rocky soil was more forgiving than a tractor, horse manure rather than CO2 was released into the environment, and the horses were quiet. Ramon asked if I wanted to plow. Made it all the way to the top with my trusted mare Venda. Demurred on return trip, but it was great fun.


As a bonus, each worked received 2 bottles of Chateau Latour 1998 Grand Cru, which sells for 1000 euro per bottle. It was offered to me at 600, but I declined, knowing that I would choke at drinking such an exquisite wine.

Final leg of the journey was Portugal, only country of the 4 I had not previously visited. Rick Steves was my guide in spirit only. He is the consumate cultural anthropologist (my undergrad major), and, in my opinion, the best Euro travel source.

The small villages are frozen in time. The scenery, especially Duoro Valley, is spectacular. My new images, "The Poet's Bench" typifies it. This lcoation was the setting for a BBC program which promoted this view as one of the most beautiful in the world. The house from where this shot was taken was built in 1667. Its descendents have a family tree that dates to the late 900's. Although I liked Lisboa (Lisbon). I loved the waterfront beauty of Porto (Oporto), neither are on the "to do" list of many Americans yet.

My quandry is my next when/where trip. Suggestions are welcomed!